This Week in the Big Ten

Dec. 23, 2012

[ONE // putting the lid on the fall]
Big Ten teams enjoyed considerable success during the fall sport season highlighted by a national championship for the Indiana men's soccer team. The fall season also featured runner-up finishes in men's cross country (Wisconsin) and women's soccer (Penn State), two volleyball semifinalists (Michigan and Penn State) and an undefeated football team (Ohio State).  The Big Ten's seven fall sports produced 45 All-Americans (Men's Soccer - 1; Women's Cross Country - 1; Men's Cross Country - 4; Women's Soccer - 6; Field Hockey - 9; Football - 10; Volleyball - 14) while 13 Academic All-America selections were announced in four sports (Men's Soccer - 1; Women's Soccer - 1; Volleyball - 2; Football - 9).  For a complete wrap-up of the Big Ten's fall season, click here.

[TWO // big ten ready to go bowling]
The Big Ten office posted the conference's Bowl Release this past week, covering all postseason games in which B1G members will participate.  The Big Ten will send seven conference teams to bowl games, marking the 14th straight year that six or more Big Ten programs have earned postseason berths. Five Big Ten teams will be in action on New Year's Day, headlined by conference champion Wisconsin, which will take part in the Rose Bowl Game for the third straight season and take on Pac-12 Champion Stanford. Bowl game previews will be posted online at in the coming week.  For a complete look at the Big Ten's Bowl Release, click here.

[THREE // penn state's o'brien honored again]
Penn State's Bill O'Brien was named the Maxwell Football Club (MFC) Collegiate Coach of the Year, the second straight year a Big Ten coach has been honored. Michigan's Brady Hoke was named national coach of the year by the MFC last season. The MFC has honored a national coach of the year since 1989 and Big Ten mentors have now been selected on eight occasions.  O'Brien led the Nittany Lions to victories in eight of their final 10 games, earning an 8-4 overall record and a 6-2 mark in the conference, with the only losses coming to division winners Nebraska and Ohio State. Penn State reeled off five consecutive victories after an 0-2 start and won its first three Big Ten road games. O'Brien was named the Big Ten's Dave McClain (media) and Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year (coaches).

[FOUR // badger barry and a wisconsin welcome]
While Wisconsin Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez is planning to coach the Badgers in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, he has also been trying to find a new head football coach to take the program back to the Rose Bowl next year.  On Thursday, he found his man in Gary Andersen.  The UW Board of Regents unanimously approved the hire via conference call on Thursday.  Andersen becomes the 29th head coach in Wisconsin football history. He spent the previous four seasons as the head coach at Utah State, leading the Aggies to a 26-24 record.  In 2012, Utah State had the most successful season in school history, winning a school-record 11 games, going undefeated in the WAC and capturing its first outright league title since 1936. The Aggies defeated Toledo, 41-15, to win the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

[FIVE // michigan continues to a-maize]
Big Ten men's basketball closed out the week with Michigan on top of the non-conference standings at 12-0.  Illinois and Minnesota follow at 12-1 each, while Indiana is 11-1 and Iowa and Michigan State sit 11-2 on the year.  Several Big Ten teams ranked in the top 25 were in action this past week, including No. 2/2 Michigan earning a 93-54 win over Eastern Michigan.  No. 6/6 Indiana captured victories over Mount St. Mary's (93-54) on Wednesday and Florida Atlantic (88-52) on Friday.  Among the other notables, No. 20/19 Michigan State beat Bowling Green 64-53 on Tuesday and Texas 67-56 on Saturday, while No. 13/16 Minnesota topped Lafayette 75-50 on Saturday as well.

[SIX // pass the cousy]
Five Big Ten players were named candidates for the 2013 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced on Thursday. Click HERE for the complete release, and read more on Big Ten candidates Jordan Hulls of Indiana, Michigan's Trey Burke, Michigan State's Keith Appling, Minnesota's Andre Hollins, and Ohio State's Aaron Craft.

[SEVEN // women's basketball displaying depth]
In the final week of action before the holiday break, Big Ten women's basketball continued to show off its depth this season as all 12 schools have won more than 50 percent of their games, 10 have captured more than two-thirds of their outings, and seven teams have taken home wins in 75 percent or more of their contests so far.  Michigan State and Purdue sit atop the non-conference standings at 11-1 each, while Michigan and Penn State trail at 10-2.  In ranked action this week, No. arv/24 Ohio State topped Gonzaga 65-60 on Monday and Southern 73-50 on Friday.  No. 11/10 Penn State bested NJIT 82-37 on Sunday, No. 13/12 Purdue defeated IUPUI 78-53 on Friday, while No. arv/21 Nebraska disposed of Oral Roberts 80-67 on Thursday.

[EIGHT // two big ten women named soccer scholar all-americans]
Two Big Ten women's soccer players recently earned National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Scholar All-America status.  Illinois' Vanessa DiBernardo was named to the first team, while Ohio State's Megan Fuller garnered third team honors. To be named Scholar All-America, a college student must attain a 3.30 grade point average on a 4.0 scale. DiBernardo, a sports administration major, has accumulated a 3.60 GPA, while Fuller, a psychology major, has earned a 3.41 GPA. Both student-athletes were named Academic All-Big Ten earlier this post-season.  DiBernardo, Fuller and the rest of the 2012 Scholar All-America Teams will be recognized Jan. 19, at the All-America Luncheon held during the 2013 NSCAA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind.  For the complete list of NSCAA Scholar All-Americans, click here.

[NINE // coping with academic all-america success]
Michigan State men's soccer player Kevin Cope was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Scholar All-America second-team. To be named Scholar All-America, a college student must attain a 3.30 grade point average on a 4.0 scale. The junior business major has accumulated a 3.68 GPA and has already earned an Academic All-Big Ten award this post-season. On the field, the defender was named second-team All-Big Ten. Cope and the rest of the 2012 Scholar All-America Teams will be recognized Jan. 19, at the All-America Luncheon held during the 2013 NSCAA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind. For the complete list of NSCAA Scholar All-Americans, click here.

[TEN // taking care of the big ten basketball tourneys]
The Big Ten Conference and Athletico Physical Therapy announced Thursday a new partnership naming Athletico as the Official Physical Therapy Provider of the Big Ten Conference. With this partnership, Athletico will provide the oversight of sports medicine services for the Big Ten Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments that take place in Chicago.  For each tournament that is held in Chicago, Athletico will coordinate the medical services for tournament coverage. Athletico will also provide courtside athletic trainers to assist with the sports medicine staff of respective Big Ten schools.  For more on the agreement, click here.

[ELEVEN // big ten faculty reps honored]
The National Football Foundation (NFF) announced the names this past Thursday of 15 faculty athletics representatives who will be honored as part of the 2012 NFF Faculty Salute Initiative, sponsored by Fidelity Investments, honoring the significant contributions of faculty athletics representatives across the nation. Included among the group of honorees are Nebraska's Josephine Potuto and Northwestern's Robert Gundlach. Both schools produced a 2012 NFF National Scholar-Athlete - the Cornhuskers' Rex Burkhead and the Wildcats' Patrick Ward.  For more information on the 2012 NFF Faculty Salute Initiative, click here.

[TWELVE // b1g questions for you to answer]
Finally this week, and for the rest of the month of December for that matter, the Big Ten and BTN are discussing the very questions stirred up by conference expansion, and they want you to tell them where you stand.  Are you happy with the future 14-team Big Ten landscape, with the addition of Maryland and Rutgers?  Do you like Legends and Leaders?  Do you even like the name Big Ten???  You can answer those questions here. Feel free to share this page with others via Twitter, Facebook, email or any other means.